Menopause is a natural phase in a woman's life that marks the end of her reproductive years. While it brings about significant hormonal changes, one aspect often overshadowed is its impact on sleep. Women often experience sleep problems as they enter this phase, which may give rise to other health issues. Dr Vipul Gupta, Chief of NeuroInterventional Surgery and Co-Chief of the Stroke Unit, Artemis Hospital, Gurugram, sheds light on how women can effectively manage the symptoms of sleep problems during menopause.
As women transition through menopause, fluctuations in oestrogen and progesterone levels can contribute to sleep disturbances. Dr Gupta emphasises that understanding these changes is crucial for developing effective strategies to manage sleep-related symptoms. "Quality sleep is fundamental to overall well-being, and addressing menopausal sleep issues is a key aspect of women's health during this phase," he added.
According to HHS Public Access, Sleep difficulties are among the most annoying symptoms of menopause, with 40–60% of women experiencing them.
Causes Of Sleep Problems During Menopause
One common challenge during menopause is insomnia. Dr Gupta explains that hormonal imbalances can disrupt the body's internal clock, leading to difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep.
“Establishing a consistent sleep routine can help signal to the body that it's time to wind down”, he advises. This includes going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
Dr Gupta highlights the significance of creating a conducive sleep environment. "A cool, dark, and quiet room is ideal for promoting quality sleep. Also, investing in a comfortable mattress and pillows can make a significant difference," he suggests. Simple adjustments like these can contribute to a more restful night's sleep.
Hot flashes, another prevalent symptom of menopause, can also disrupt sleep. It is important to manage these by keeping the bedroom cool, using lightweight bedding, and dressing in layers that can be easily adjusted. "Maintaining a comfortable sleep temperature is crucial for minimising the impact of hot flashes on sleep quality," he added.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety, often heightened during menopause, can exacerbate sleep problems. Dr Gupta advocates for relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or gentle yoga before bedtime. "These practices can help calm the mind and promote a more peaceful transition into sleep," he states.
Managing Sleep Problems During Menopause
In addition to lifestyle adjustments, it's important to engage in regular physical activity to promote better sleep.
"Engaging in regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality. However, it's essential to choose activities that are enjoyable and sustainable, as excessive or vigorous exercise close to bedtime may have the opposite effect," he advises.
While lifestyle modifications play a crucial role, some women may require additional interventions. "For those experiencing persistent and severe sleep disturbances, consulting a healthcare professional is advisable. Hormone therapy and other medications can be considered under the guidance of a qualified healthcare provider," he suggests.
Dr Gupta concluded, “By adopting healthy sleep habits, managing stress, and seeking professional guidance when needed, women can navigate this phase with better sleep and overall well-being. As menopause represents a significant life transition, understanding and managing its impact on sleep is a proactive step toward promoting women's health and quality of life.”
[Disclaimer: This article contains information provided by a registered healthcare professional and is for informational purposes only. We advise you to consult your expert if you are experiencing any health issues for a personalised treatment.]